Sasha Vezenkov scores 20 points in Game 1 of Greek Basket League Finals

Jun 5, 2023, 10:55 AM

BOLOGNA, ITALY - JANUARY 12: Aleksandar Vezenkov #14 of Olympiacos Piraeus during the 2022-23 Turki...

(Photo by Roberto Finizio/Getty Images)

(Photo by Roberto Finizio/Getty Images)

As we inch closer to June 22nd’s  NBA Draft–the date that the Sacramento Kings can begin negotiations with unsigned draft picks–the Greek Basket League’s Finals are underway in Greece.

Kings prospect Sasha Vezenkov and Olympiacos took Game 1 of the Finals with a 73-70 win over Panathinaikos on Sunday night in a game that also featured former Sacramento center Georgios Papagiannis.

Vezenkov led all scorers with 20 points on six-of-12 shooting from the field (two-of-five from three-point range), seven rebounds, and two assists over 34 minutes of action.

Olympiacos claimed Game 1 in this best-of-five series that will continue on Thursday morning (8:00 am PST).

Papagiannis, the Kings’ 13th overall pick from the 2016 NBA Draft, finished the game with seven points and nine rebounds over 20 minutes as Panathinaikos fell short in the final moments of a one-possession loss.

Vezenkov has been the early storyline of the summer for Sacramento thus far as fans anxiously await the forward’s decision of whether or not he will be making the jump to the NBA for the 2023-24 season.

While Kings fans continue to watch the EuroLeague MVP’s performances from afar, Vezenkov recently told Bulgarian television BNT that a decision on his future will take place following Olympiacos’ run at defending its Greek League title.

“I’m only thinking about how to become champions of Greece and what will be the right decision for me at this moment. Nobody knows what will happen in a few years, so I will decide how to proceed when the time comes.

“I feel very good when specialists and coaches say nice words [about me], but I know it’s a business, and it’s all about how, what, and when. We agreed that it would be fairest to finish the EuroLeague season and then talk. We’ll see if [the Kings] have a specific offer,” Vezenkov continued.

“I’m ready for new challenges, but, as I’ve said before, Athens and Olympiacos are my home, and I feel great. For me, the most important thing is what’s best for my future.”

Over 37 appearances with Olympiacos BC in the EuroLeague this season, Vezenkov averaged 17.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 65 percent on two-point field goals and 39 percent from beyond the three-point arc en route to securing the EuroLeague MVP award.

The Kings hold the 27-year-old’s NBA rights thanks to a draft day deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers last June, and reports have indicated that Vezenkov is inching closer to making a commitment to Sacramento that would bring the forward over for the 2023-24 season.

All signs point to June 22nd’s NBA Draft as the start of the process of clarity in the Vezenkov-Kings saga.

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NBA Offseason Schedule

  • Thursday, June 22– 2023 NBA Draft
  • Friday, June 30– Free Agent negotiating period begins
  • Thursday, July 6– Free Agents can begin signing deals
  • Friday, July 7–Monday, July 17– NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
  • August TBD– 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
  • Late September – Training camp begins

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Sasha Vezenkov scores 20 points in Game 1 of Greek Basket League Finals